More than 150 volunteers from New York Tech’s Long Island, New York City, and Vancouver campuses participated in the university’s fifth annual Community Engagement Day. The participants logged over 250 hours of service and engaged with more than 3,000 community members in 16 community-based initiatives, equating to roughly $7,758 in economic impact.
During the annual day of volunteering, held this year on April 13, students, faculty, and staff worked closely with non-profit organizations, educating the surrounding community on pressing social issues and promoting community projects, fundraisers, and organizations.
This year, students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to volunteer remotely and in person. Remotely, New York Tech participated in a letter-writing campaign with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, writing over 200 inspirational messages for children with life-threatening diseases. Additionally, volunteers donated more than $200 in goods to New York Tech’s Grizzly Cupboard, including food and toiletries. And students Shashank Ankam, Chaitali Bhakta, Rachit Kapoor, Lillian Pratt, Mary Margarette Sanchez, and Carmine Velez, along with Professor of Biological and Chemical Sciences Niharika Nath, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Digital Art and Design Kevin Park, ETIC Director Michael Nizich, Ph.D., and Associate Professor and Chair of Digital Art and Design Rozina Vavetsi connected with more than 2,500 students from three Shiv Nadar Schools in India to talk to them about life in Manhattan as a New York Tech student and engage them in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities, including an interactive presentation with E.R.R.S.E.L.A., a collaborative research and student engagement program in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences’ Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC).
In person, New York Tech-New York City hosted Invisible Hands, which graciously partnered with Bear Bytes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver food and essential goods to New York Tech students in need, for an information session held at the Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D. Art Gallery and Student Lounge. Afterward, two representatives from Invisible Hands teamed up with a small group of students to travel throughout the city to inform local communities about resources that address food insecurity.
Through a collaboration with Invisible Hands, a nonprofit community of organizers and volunteers delivering groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities to the elderly, sick, homebound, and people with disabilities, students worked with New York Common Pantry to package hundreds of cases of essential groceries for families in need. “It was a great experience. Our task for the day was creating food packages that contained various fruits and vegetables, including bananas, kale, onions, potatoes, pears, tomatoes, kiwis, and sweet potatoes,” said architecture student Katrina Deicmane, who was the lead coordinator for all Invisible Hands activities. “This was a great team-building opportunity, as we had to pass each other different produce. Within three hours we filled up 472 bags.”
More than 30 students and faculty hosted 30 students from Uniondale High School for an interactive tour of the Long Island campus. They participated in workshops in the School of Health Professions’ nursing simulation lab, the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences’ machine shop, the ETIC, Digital Art and Design studios, and the School of Management’s Museum of Career Success.
On the Vancouver campus, students partnered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to to clean up trash and debris along Sunset Beach. “It was an excellent volunteering experience. Preserving our local beaches and environment is very important. We cleaned plastic containers and organic debris deposited on a beach or coastline by the tide or tourists,” said cybersecurity student Hanmei Yang.
This article was contributed by Askia VanOmmeren, assistant director of experiential education.